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In a study in 2011 in the journal , University of Edinburgh psychologist Alison P.Lenton and University of Essex economist Marco Francesconi analyzed more than 3,700 dating decisions across 84 speed-dating events.Even if meet-and-greet matching events might seem like the most efficient way to comb through many options at once, a wealth of data reveals that the context in which we make a choice weighs heavily on the outcome.
Some years ago I caved to my curiosity and tried it out myself. When the little buzzer went off after three minutes, I often found myself still trying to explain to my bedazzled dating partner why my last name has four syllables (it is Dutch).It sounds simple, but each variable in the design of the event can affect the daters’ outcomes.In spite of maxims about so many fish in the sea, for example, recent research tells us that the heart prefers a smaller pond.In essence, heuristics are ingrained rules of thumb that allow us to save effort by ignoring some of the information available to us when we evaluate our options.For example, in those events with a relatively large number of participants, the researchers discovered that people attend predominantly to easily accessible features, such as age, height, physical attractiveness, and so forth, rather than clues that are harder to observe, for example, occupation and educational achievement.
Speed dating, by comparison, offers the opportunity to chat up many eligible singles in rapid succession.